SEATTLE — The splotches of red T-shirts around Alaska Airlines Arena were the first clue Washington’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament opener was going to be odd.
Fans of underdog Eastern Washington did their best to make their presence felt in the arena of their in-state rival, and the school from east of the mountains almost took over the game, too.
It took two overtimes for UW to win 65-60. Sophomore point guard Jazmine Davis had the key play, sending a bounce pass inside to sophomore Aminah Williams to make the score 63-60 with 23 seconds left in the extra period. After Eastern Washington missed a 3-pointer, Davis closed out the game with a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
It wasn’t the first big play from Davis, as the Huskies needed a two-pointer from their leading scorer with 13 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 49 and avoid the first-round upset.
Washington (21-13) plays Pacific (26-7) on Sunday in the second round of the WNIT. The Tigers advanced by defeating Arkansas-Little Rock 69-65 on Friday.
Down 10 points early in the second half, EWU worked its way back into the game behind sophomore point guard Kylie Huerta’s timely 3-pointers and by working freshman forward Hayley Hodgins (Chiawana) in the paint.
UW senior guard Kristi Kingma tied the score at 53-53 with 1:24 left in the first overtime, and the Huskies weathered four EWU shots and offensive rebounds to extend the game. In the second overtime, it was Kingma who hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 remaining that gave UW a lead it would not relinquish.
Despite a shorter lineup, the Eagles almost matched the Huskies on rebounding (52-51) and earned six blocks to UW's three. The visitors found comfort offensively with the home team’s hoops, shooting 35.8 percent overall compared with UW’s 31.8.
UW freshman Heather Corral hit a jumper with 10:55 left in the first half that sparked a 12-0 run that gave the Huskies a 22-13 lead.
Davis led with 22 points, while Kingma finished with 13.
Hodgins, whose mother, Karen, is UW’s fourth-leading scorer all-time, led the Eagles with 20 points.
EWU, which finished third in the Big Sky Conference, has never won a postseason game.
The matchup was Washington's fourth against an in-state school. UW defeated Washington State twice and Seattle University once in overtime at KeyArena.